Spiced Manhattan Cocktail

Holiday Spiced Manhattan CocktailSweet and Spicy and bursting with holiday flavor, this Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe is just the way to start you holiday parties this year.

Lieutenant Dan here.

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #cocktails #holiday

As I thought about what to write about this month, I couldn’t help but consider things I was thankful for. This time of year tends to bring out the grateful gene in all of us – which causes us to ponder the many blessings in our life.

Far and away the greatest blessing for me would be the friendships I have been fortunate to have through the years.

Holiday Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

How we meet people can be quite humorous.

Think back to how you met some of the closest people in your life… Was it from where you grew up? How about high school or college? Maybe it was at church or in a business deal.

What was the spark that started that first conversation?

A similar sports team (my Notre Dame Fighting Irish are going to the national championship by the way!), a hobby or some other shared interest. There are untold ways that people connect that first time.

How to Make a Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

For some reason, some of my longest and most lasting relationships were formed discussing libations – imagine that! Some examples that come to mind:

Chuck: Been friends for over 13 years. We’ve run races together, moved across the country together (he moved back), seen our kids grow up together, changed occupations a few times together, etc… Our first conversation started with him discussing some new wine he had tried that weekend. Of course that caught my attention – 13 years later were still close friends (and have drank a fair bit of wine together over the years).

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

Meherwan: Friends for nearly 8 years. How did we meet? Scotch…

I overheard him talking about paying $40 in San Francisco for a shot of Johnny Blue – he just had to try it. Obviously that caught my attention and now 8 years later we have worked together numerous times and our families have stayed close friends.

He showed me the original business plans for a new restaurant concept he thought up years ago called Chai Pani and now he is an enormously successful restaurateur with Chai Pani Asheville, MG Road (a killer bar I am involved with) and coming soon Chai Pani Decatur. (see www.chaipani.net) I feel honored to know him and his family. And it all started because of a simple conversation about scotch (and now many years later several actual bottles of scotch – McCallan 18 being his favorite and Dalwhinnie 15 mine).

Holiday Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

So, as you head into this holiday season, think about WHAT you are thankful for. More importantly, think about WHO you are thankful for.

And who knows – maybe while your discussing the latest killer concoction you made from Lt. Dan’s inspiration – you will start a conversation with a soon to be lifelong friend.


Manhattan Cocktail | ASpicyPerspective.com #holiday #cocktails

P.S. Before you send hate mail about how a Manhattan Cocktail is supposed to have bourbon instead of Cognac and a cherry instead of an orange – let me say… I am aware of that fact.

BUT – in this case, I felt like the bourbon (which I tried numerous different kinds) was a bit too harsh. I also considered calling it a holiday Metropolitan, but felt it was really closer to a Manhattan. Either way, it tastes great – so call it whatever you see fit!


Yield: 1

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Spiced Manhattan Cocktail Recipe


Infused Vermouth:

  • 2 cups sweet vermouth
  • 1 teapsoon allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash sea salt

Manhattan Cocktail:

  • 2.5 ounces Hennessy cognac
  • .75 ounce infused vermouth
  • Dash of angostura bitters
  • Twist of orange
  • Sprinkle of fresh nutmeg


  1. To Infuse the Vermouth: Heat vermouth to just before boiling. Add all dry ingredients. Turn off heat, cover with lid and let steep for several hours. Pour through sifter into empty container.
  2. For each Manhattan Cocktail: Pour Hennessy, vermouth and bitters in a shaker. Add ice and shake. Pour into martini glass. Add twist of orange and sprinkle or zest nutmeg over the top.

More Holiday Cocktails:

Brandy Java Ice

Meyer Lemon Tom Collins

Creamy Egg Nog ~ Epicurean Mom

Holiday Sangria ~ Aggie’s Kitchen

Ginger Pear Cocktail ~ The Boy’s Club

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43 Responses to “Spiced Manhattan Cocktail”

  1. #
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — November 27, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    You know how I feel about my cocktails… so, I don’t need to tell you how much I love this. :-)


  2. #
    Angie — November 27, 2012 @ 8:31 am

    This looks perfect for a holiday party!


  3. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — November 27, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    I love all of these spices. This is just gorgeous!


  4. #
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — November 27, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    Cinnamon and cloves and orange?! Ooh, so perfect for this time of year.


  5. #
    SweetSugarbelle — November 27, 2012 @ 9:02 am

    Perfect way to warm up, Sommer!


  6. #
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — November 27, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    so pretty! Just pinned it!


  7. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — November 27, 2012 @ 9:38 am

    Gorgeous, Sommer!


  8. #
    Shaina — November 27, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    Lovely stories about the people in your life, and the cocktail is just gorgeous.


  9. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 27, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! It looks awesome!


  10. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — November 27, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

    This looks perfect!


  11. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — November 27, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    I could give you some grief about the Manhattan business but then you might have to swing by and return the favor when it comes to martinis! If it’s in a glass called a martini glass I don’t care if it’s chocolate milk, I’ll call it a chocolate milk martini! :)

    The infused vermouth sounds fantastic and I might just have a new bottle calling out for it to be livened up a bit…thanks. Great cocktail!


  12. #
    Nancy Long — November 27, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    not a big drinker, but this one I want to try – just can’t afford Hennessey, so hopefully a lesser cognac will work well


  13. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — November 27, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Such pretty pictures! And very festive!


  14. #
    Toni | Boulder Locavore — November 27, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    It’s extremely difficult to be creative with a classic like a Manhattan; especially with the few ingredients in it. You’ve not only done that but made it seasonal; bravo! Very clever!


  15. #
    Elizabeth@ Food Ramblings — November 27, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    delicious– i’ll take one of these :)


  16. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — November 27, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

    This post reminded me how much I could use a cocktail – a much needed reminder ;) The recipe looks great and I’m bound to make it over and over again for a nice winter night cap :)


  17. #
    Sherry — November 27, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    I just popped by from An Edible Mosaic and am following via FB. Your cocktails look delicious. I could use one of these!


  18. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — November 27, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

    What a perfect drink for the season!


  19. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — November 28, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    Love this! I could sure use a glass right now :)


  20. #
    Colette @ JFF! — November 28, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Spices make it more festive….


  21. #
    Diane (createdbydiane) — November 28, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    I’m calling it delicious and I haven’t even tried it yet, it just great. It’s fun to remember how me met people, wonderful post!


  22. #
    Tara @ Unsophisticook — November 29, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    So pretty and festive!


  23. #
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — November 30, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    Beautiful thoughtful post. And that cocktail looks so warm and inviting and festive!


  24. #
    Joy — November 30, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

    So I AM a Manhattan purist, but if you hadn’t called it a Manhattan then I might not have clicked through, so in that regard you win. However, I’m still fighting a nasty cold so it’s just not on the menu tonight. Wondering if I can make the infused vermouth a day or two ahead?? Cannot wait to make this!


    • George — December 4th, 2013 @ 7:41 am

      you should be able to make the vermouth at any time – it’s alcohol, I wouldn’t think it would go bad


  25. #
    mjskit — December 1, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    What a great holiday cocktail and I just love that infused vermouth! Need to make this!


  26. #
    Connie — December 7, 2012 @ 12:18 am

    Love your P.S. Shuts up purists perfectly. :D


  27. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — December 9, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    I call this fantastic!


  28. #
    Gary Nijman — December 17, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    Is that 1 tsp Allspice ground or whole?


  29. #
    George — December 4, 2013 @ 7:41 am

    the Manhattan is traditionally made with rye, not bourbon. That being said, looking forward to trying this over the holidays.



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